The Style Tutors were excited to receive this request recently from a mother-to-be on the hunt for fashionable and affordable maternity clothes:
Dear Style Tutor,
My husband and I are expecting our first baby in October, and we are very excited. I am less than excited about shopping for maternity clothes. Having always been able to be fairly confident about sizes and styles that best suit my body and my taste, I am now struggling to find cute, decently priced maternity clothes. I mistakenly assumed that I could go to my local mall and have a pick from a variety of cute options. Boy, I was wrong! There are very few stores in my area that actually carry maternity clothing in the store, and the ones that do are less than desirable. There are local boutiques that carry pricey maternity clothing, but I am having difficulty purchasing expensive items that I will wear for 5 more months. So, I am forced to turn to mostly online shopping. This is also challenging as I am not really sure about sizes and fit. I am about 17 weeks along. I am 5’6′ and weigh about 132 pounds. I definitely do not fit into my regular clothes as I have already gained about 14 pounds (forget about belly bands when I can’t get my own pants past my hips). So, I need to buy maternity clothes because I am getting bigger by the second. Help! Who knew shopping for mommy clothes would be so challenging? By the way, I should mention that I have to dress up for work–awesome!
Maternity Clothing Woes
I was instantly sympathetic to Maternity Clothing Woes’ dilemma. Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows just how difficult finding flattering maternity clothes that are both fashionable and affordable can be.
After my first pregnancy, I went into my second pregnancy and second maternity clothes hunt with much more clarity and a few rules that helped me feel as good as possible. Here is what I found to be my favorite pieces throughout each pregnancy:
1) No panel or demi panel: I highly recommend the no panel or demi panel for every single maternity clothing purchase. I found all the other panel styles to be annoying, especially as the pregnancy progressed. The demi panel does offer some much needed support, though, in the latter months of a pregnancy, so if you are trying to maximize your dollars, just stick with the demi panel for all purchases.
3) A great pair of shorts. I actually found a very flattering pair of jean shorts at Motherhood Maternity. They fit well, made my legs look long, and made me feel like I looked cute, even days before each kid was born. This pair from Gap are a great pair to dress up or down.
4) Work pants. Again, I turned to Gap for these. (Are you noting a theme here?) They were affordable, had a demi panel, and were flattering. They, too, survived both pregnancies. I had a light kahki pair w/ a light pink (very subtle) pinstripe, a dark brown pair, and a black pair. I like these and these (they come in three colors). Old Navy also has a nice pair that seem less maternity like than other pants, which for me is ALWAYS a huge plus for maternity clothes!
5) Shirts: Liz Lange for Target makes some great maternity t-shirts. This top is adorable and would look great with some skinny jeans for a more casual look or with a blazer and some trousers for work! (Unfortunately, no matter how much I wished for this line to be my go-t0 source of chic and affordable maternity clothes I found all the other pieces in the line ran unflatteringly large, including the shirts that did not have a fitted cut.)
Gap has comfortable shirts as well. How cute is this? (paired with these black skinny pants, a great pair of shoes, and you now have a great outfit for work, going out, more casual events…it seems like a great go-to look).
With my second pregnancy I scooped up shirts at Loft whenever they had a certain % (often 30-50%) off of full price or sale items. They have cute, comfortable shirts that are often a bit embellished, which made me feel a bit cuter than when I would just wear a plain t-shirt. I simply bought a size or two up, depending on how far along I was. (I was able to sell these shirts at Buffalo Exchange after it was all said and done.)
5) Skirts/dresses: Honestly, I hated how I looked in a dress or skirt, so I just didn’t wear them very often, which broke my heart because I am definitely a dress person. From time to time Motherhood Maternity has fairly cute, affordable ones. This maxi dress is on trend, adorable, and looks comfortable; paired with a blazer or structured cardigan it becomes more work appropriate. Gap has some cute dresses as well. When I did happen to wear a dress I stuck to something like a wrap dress or a tailored shift dress. This dress is very cute; if it had existed when I was pregnant I would have purchased both colors and worn it with leggings, which means two dresses, four looks!
6) The majority of your shopping will have to be conducted online, unless you happen to be lucky and live in a city that has a variety of maternity clothing retailers. (I love in Phoenix, and aside from pricey boutiques, my local mall only has one store that carries maternity clothes. In order to get to a Gap that carries maternity I had to drive 60 miles!) There are some great online retailers that are fairly well known like Gap, Old Navy, Motherhood Maternity, and A Pea in the Pod and some lesser known, but equally amazing retailers like ASOS, Loft, and Hatch Collection that are worth trying out if you are struggling to find clothes locally.
7) Don’t negate the power of cute accessories, a great pair of shoes, and a nice handbag to punch up an outfit, pregnant or otherwise!
ASOS Maternity Shirt In Bug Print: $60.88/ Gap Striped A-line Dress: $59.95/ ASOS Maternity Tee In Photographic Flower Print: $38.27/ ASOS Maternity Cropped Pants In Floral Print: $48.71/ ASOS Maternity Blouse With Double Collar: $31.31
Hope these tips help!
xoxo- Style Tutor
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